What If the Celtics Drafted Kobe?
Days leading up to the Celtics-Lakers game on Thursday night, Kobe Bryant tweeted out this.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) February 6, 2013
This, of course, now leads us to imagine what would have happened if one of the greatest players of this generation wore the Celtic green and white instead of Laker purple and gold?
In the 1996 NBA draft, Kobe Bryant was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th overall pick and was later traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. At the time, Bryant was just the second player since 1975 to be drafted straight out of high school. Kevin Garnett was the other in 1995.
As we know, Kobe is one of the best players to play in the NBA since Michael Jordan, being a five-time NBA champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 15-time All Star, MVP in 2008 and a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist.
Boston held the sixth overall pick that 1996 NBA draft, eventually drafting Antoine Walker but what Celtics fans seem to forget is that they worked out Bryant leading up to the draft. In Boston’s defense, it was still taboo for an NBA franchise to roll the dice on a kid coming out of high school. At the time, Walker was regarded as a very good player coming out of the University of Kentucky, making it seem like the safer choice.
For arguments sake, let’s pretend that the Celtics did select Kobe Bryant, would he have lived up to his potential? Is it possible that he could have been even better?
Let’s assume that after drafting Kobe, the next two NBA drafts went the same way. The Celtics would have a backcourt of Chauncey Billups, Kobe Bryant, and Paul Pierce. If that doesn’t get Celtics fans dreaming, I do not know what would! With those three guys and a couple of defensive minded big men, Kobe and company could have been looking at five titles before 2004, let alone 2013.
If the Celtics drafted Kobe, the NBA would never have a revitalized version of “Showtime” between Kobe and Shaq and who knows if the rivalry between the Celtics and Lakers would have been renewed, as it was when they met in the 2008 NBA Finals.
Other questions start to arise when you wonder what would have happened to Kobe had he ended up in Boston. Would he have avoided the sexual assault charges in Colorado and been a more beloved player? Would he have scored 81 points in a game, like the one he did against Toronto in 2006? Would he have been better than Michael Jordan? Would he have been the Kobe we know today or better?
One question that we know for sure is that if they were to do it all over again, the Celtics would have drafted Kobe Bean Bryant and he would have been one of the greatest Celtics to ever live.